Revolution or War n°23

(January 2023)

PDF - 419.3 kb

HomeVersion imprimable de cet article Version imprimable

Commentary on the Basic Positions of the International Group of the Communist Left

We publish below a position of a comrade who is new to the Communist Left. He takes position on our "basic positions". Recall that these, besides being a "summary" of our platform which presents without any argumentation the whole of our principles and class positions, define the framework of principles – and therefore of membership of any member – of the IGCL. The comrade quotes our positions one by one and follows them with his comments. For our part, we respond in a letter, here below after his text, to the main question that the comrade raises: “I am skeptical on the role of the party as it relates to the course of revolution and afterwards, as I am fearful of the possibility of the internal degeneration of the party into something which is counterrevolutionary to the proletariat.” For the rest of the punctual questions or misunderstandings that the comrade expresses, are answers are in bold and in brackets. The fact that the comrade, who recognizes it himself, discovers the Communist Left and seems to be unaware of some of its traditional positions does not diminish the interest of his observations and the need to answer them in the most precise way possible; for him as for so many others…

This commentary of the basic positions of the International Group of the Communist left (henceforth the IGCL) will serve to extrapolate the significance of these positions to the world-historical task of the working class (the proletariat) to break itself from the bondage of the capitalist mode of production and exchange, and to realize communism. This commentary also serves to share the views that I hold regarding these positions, as to give readers of this commentary an indication of my political positions and perspectives for the communist left. I would like to preface however, that the extent of my theoretical readings and the serious understanding of the writings of Marx and other theorists from a critical perspective is lacking. I am not as well read as I would ideally like to be when it comes to theory, however that does not mean I lack the understanding of the necessity for theory, and the understanding of how capitalism affects my life (...) as well as others. It is possible that after I have acquired for myself a matured and critical understanding of the proper theory, this commentary may not reflect the positions I hold in the future, so perhaps this can be seen as a time capsule of my ideas. But I digress. To begin, the IGCL’s basic positions are outlined in twenty points. I will go about addressing each position point by point, and after stating each point, I will then comment on the point with whatever information and commentary that seems relevant to include.

  • 1) “The IGCL considers and defines all its activities, both internal and external, in relation to and as moments of the struggle for the constitution of the world political party of the proletariat, indispensable tool for the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a communist society.”

The constitution of a world political party of the proletariat is key towards the realization of communism, as it is through proletarian internationalism in a genuinely internationalist sense, leaving no room for nationalism no matter how “revolutionary” or “progressive” or “Marxist” it may be. Only through the establishment of a party which comprises and represents the interests of the international proletariat can we overthrow capitalism, and realize communism, which leaves countries, states, classes, and most importantly: Capital, in the dustbin of history.

  • 2) “In addition to intervening in the proletariat’s struggles, the IGCL leads this struggle especially in the international proletarian camp. This camp is composed of revolutionary political groups defending and sharing the class positions of the proletariat, in particular proletarian internationalism and the necessity of the class dictatorship of the proletariat.”

One cannot build a proletarian movement without proletarians. The global working class, those who must work to survive, those who are constrained by capitalism and its functions, who are both the exploited and revolutionary class who are the only class to liberate itself, the planet, and humanity from the shackles of capitalism, must find a way to organize with itself globally towards that very end. Communism, as Marx says the in the German Ideology, is “…the real movement which abolishes the present state of things.” It cannot be something which is “tried” or “established”, especially not in a single country. Just as capitalism is global, so must communism be global, and therefore, the ultimate expression of the proletariat’s interests dictated by and for themselves - the dictatorship of the proletariat – must ensure that they leave no stone unturned until all workers of all lands are freed from the capitalist nightmare.

  • 3) “The IGCL claims the First, Second and Third Internationals and the struggle of the left fractions within them. In particular, it claims the struggle of the left fraction of the CP of Italy within the Communist International against its Stalinist degeneration and for the programmatic contributions that it has been able to develop and pass on us to this day.”

This point seems to give readers a historical outline of the genesis of the communist left as a tendency, however, I must comment to say that I do not know enough on the specifics behind the historical origins of this tendency. It seems as when left-communists discuss the 3rd international, its uncertain as to when the 3rd international was “bolshevized” or “Stalinized” or whatever word one wants to use. The ICT states in their most recent platform that the first two congresses of the international were valid, but the IGCL claims that the “left fractions” of the third international after its second congress are valid as well, (at least that is how I’m reading it, but I could be wrong of course). To me currently, this is a matter of semantics and insignificantly nitpicky details that would not matter so greatly especially if it were simply a “basic positions” document.

[The whole of the Communist Left, especially that part which claims the Communist Left of Italy, has the same position on the first two congresses of the International. Moreover, the whole of the so-called Left of Italy claims to be part of the struggle of the CP of Italy, and then of its left fraction, within the Communist International against the opportunist weaknesses which began to be expressed at the second congress, then against the concessions of the same type starting from the third congress. The Communist Left also claims the fraction’s struggle against the process of opportunist degeneration which expressed itself in the rise of Stalinism in the various national parties and in the International itself. There is therefore no divergence on this point between the ICT and ourselves.]

  • 4) “Only the proletariat, exploited and revolutionary class at the same time, is able to destroy capitalism and to establish communism, the classless society. The consciousness of this revolution, the communist consciousness, is produced by the historical struggle of the proletariat. So that it can materialize, defend and develop itself, the proletariat produces communist minorities who organize themselves in parties and whose permanent function is to carry this communist consciousness and to return it to the whole proletariat.”

The European bourgeois revolutions of the 18th and 19th centuries, manifested under the liberal ideals promulgated during “the enlightenment”, were those revolutions which sought to remove the yolk of Feudal relations in production, but not necessarily their institutions in some cases. Britain, Spain, and Japan have monarchies for example - a feudal institution - yet the mode of production that is prevalent in these countries is capitalist. The bourgeois revolutions of the past had the revolutionary bourgeoisie abolish feudal relations of production as their nascent accumulation of capital emerged. Their incentives to ensure liberalized markets and reforms for their continued growth, allowed them to organize politically to ensure that their interests and incentives for the production of capital are met. Thus, as the bourgeois develops, the relations of the old society are done away with to form new relations. One may ask, “What the hell does this have to do with the proletariat?” Well, the uniqueness is that in the historical transition from feudalism to capitalism, the revolutionary class was not always an exploited class, but in the transition from capitalism to communism, the revolutionary class – the proletariat – is also the exploited class. Their exploitation is what gives them their revolutionary character, and the proletarians who realize their conditions and what they must do to realize their ultimate interests (the communist society) must aim to organize their class against the bourgeoisie whose interest is to maintain capitalism. If I may say however, I am skeptical on the role of the party as it relates to the course of revolution and afterwards, as I am fearful of the possibility of the internal degeneration of the party into something which is counterrevolutionary to the proletariat. Perhaps it is because I am uneducated on the subject.

[see our comments following this text]

  • 5) “As the highest expression of this consciousness, the party – or, in its absence, the communist fractions or groups – constitutes and must assume the political leadership of the proletariat. In particular, the party is the only organ that can lead the proletariat to the insurrection and to the destruction of the capitalist state, and to the exercise of the dictatorship of the proletariat.”

As I stand with the party, I must concede that the party form is one of the working class’s most forceful ways of achieving their demands, and for the mobilizing of the class. Whether I would ideally want an overarching centralized bureaucratic party leading the proletariat, I really cannot say I do. But of course, any communist throws that out the window. What I am fearful of is the proletariat losing political control and therefore control over themselves, and instead being managed by the worker’s state and by an internally degenerate party which controls not just a single country, but the globe. I am not dismissive of the party, rather it is that I may be uneducated as to the party’s function in the revolution, and the difference in function from a “communist” or “socialist” party today. I hope that this is not seen as a dismissal of the party, but rather it is my lack of understanding of it, and the current unwiring of Marxist-Leninists conceptions of “the party” that I have currently, as I was for, some time, sympathetic to Marxism-Leninism but not explicitly a Marxist-Leninist or even a member of a party.

  • 6) The party is organized and functions on the basis of the principles that govern the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat, proletarian internationalism and centralism as moments of its international unity and struggle. From the start, the party constitutes, functions and intervenes as an international and centralized party. From its very start, the IGCL constitutes, functions and intervenes as an international and centralized group.”

The workers of the world have no country. Despite what individual workers may understand to be their individual interests, it may not be in the interests of their entire class, and if the workers are to be led by the party of, and for the workers, the party must commit towards the realization of the working class’s real interest: the world communist society. This would require the use of centralism. However, the important question to ask is: what kind of centralism? Many on the left-of-capital, most notably Marxist-Leninist organizations and political parties would also agree on the use of centralism, but it stands that the platform of the international party of the proletariat is fundamentally different from that of the bourgeois “communist’ and “socialist” parties of the left of capital. From how I see it, it is dependent upon what kind of centralism the party practices. Onorato Damen in his pamphlet “Centralized Party Yes! Centralization Over the Party, No!” maintained that although a centralized party was necessary, the party imposing itself as the only body for proletarian control was at a disadvantage to the proletariat, and therefore the revolution as a whole. Damen asserts that a centralism over the party would simply degenerate into Stalinism, and that he was avoiding the “disastrous consequences which occur in a supposedly revolutionary party when its central organ, as a body, operates outside of the bounds and control of the organization’s membership.” (Par.11) I mention Damen only to agree with him, as the party must organize itself centrally, however, it should centralize itself so as to alienate its members from their leadership, and especially not even just members, but the entire working class itself.

[The comrade specifies that the “the platform of the international party of the proletariat is fundamentally different from that of the bourgeois “communist’ and “socialist” parties of the left of capital”, therefore including the "Marxist-Leninist" parties. In this sense, the comrade commits a methodological political error by comparing the bourgeois centralization, including in its caricatured and abject form of Stalinism, claimed by these leftist parties with that of the communist organizations and the class party, which is a centralization with proletarian class character. This error of method opens the door to the rejection of proletarian centralism, defined by the very experience of the proletarian class struggle, which must be centralized, for the party. In this sense, we do not understand well the end of his commentary on this point.]

  • 7) “The party, as well as the IGCL, bases its program, its principles, its political positions and its action on the theory of historical materialism. By explaining the course of history through the development of the class struggle and by recognizing the proletariat as the revolutionary class, it is the only world view that places itself from its point of view. It is the theory of the revolutionary proletariat.”

In all of history for which human beings have existed in their modern form, roughly 200.000 years, capitalism has been a part of it for roughly 300 years or so. Considering how infinitesimally small that period of time is compared to humanity’s existence, as well as it being just one mode of production human beings have lived under, out of the many others (slavery feudalism, primitive communism; etc.) it is clear to understand that human history is a history of human beings being divided into their economic classes struggling between themselves for their own material interests. All human history is based off of class struggle.

  • 8) “Only after the victorious insurrection and the disappearance of the bourgeois state will the proletariat be able to organize itself as a ruling class under the political leadership of its party. Its class domination, the dictatorship of the proletariat, is exercised by means of the workers’ councils, or soviets. These can only maintain themselves as a unitary organization of the proletariat if they become organs of the insurrection and organs of the class dictatorship, that is to say, by making the party’s slogans their own.”

By making the slogans of the party dictatorship their own, the worker’s councils maintain a line between the party and the class, ensuring that the councils are a tool for the realization of a higher phase of communism, instead of degenerating towards being vessels of reaction. But consequently, I can envision the possibility of a degenerating party leading the councils of worker’s control in a way that is antithetical to the worker’s real interests. Such a degeneration needs to be met with some sort of check so that it does not manifest into a counter-revolutionary organ of bureaucratic control.

[see our comments following this text]

  • 9) “The dictatorship of the proletariat consists in using the class power of its mass organizations, the councils or soviets, to abolish the economic power of the bourgeoisie and ensure the transition to a classless communist society. The state of the transition period, of the class dictatorship, between capitalism and communism is destined to disappear with the disappearance of the classes, of the proletariat itself and of its party, and the advent of the communist society.”

An important piece of information is garnered from this statement; that the dictatorship of the proletariat is only a transition from capitalism towards communism (at least that is how I’m reading it.) It is also saying that this transition would also mean the eventual disappearance of the proletariat as well as its class institutions. This is something rarely discussed in so-called “communist’ circles, which is why I find this to be so refreshing. It doesn’t negate the necessity of class struggle, but it is making the very obvious point that we must seek to abolish classes as a whole during this transitionary phase. There is class struggle, but there is also class abolition, and it must be apparent to any communist that these go hand in hand, once cannot exist without the other.

  • 10) “Since the First World War in 1914, generalized imperialist war and state capitalism have been the main expressions of the historical phase of decadence of capitalism.”

The decadence of capitalism will be its downfall through the dangers of imperialist war, I feel like this point needs no further elaboration.

  • 11) “In face of the unceasing development of state capitalism, the proletariat can only advance the research for its unity in all its struggles, even the most limited or localized ones, by taking charge of their extension and generalization. Every workers’ struggle, even the most limited, confronts the state apparatus as a whole, against which the proletariat can only advance the perspective and the weapon of the mass strike.”

The idea of finding unity in the working class’s struggles by “…taking charge of their extension and generalization” is one of the most important principles in internationalism and communism, that it is a shame that so many “socialists” would rather settle for the reforms of marginal struggles as if it’s a noticeable step towards something better. By reminding the working class that their many struggles they have are but an expression of the single generalized problem of capitalism. By listening to the grievances of working people and realizing the root cause of their ever-growing problems is due to the growth of capitalism, and by mobilizing them towards attacking it through the mass strike, it unites many localized struggles for worker’s emancipation into the generalized struggle against capital, and for a free and communist society.

[It is not “a shame that so many “socialists” would rather settle for the reforms of marginal struggles”. It is in the class, bourgeois nature of the left forces of capital, here the social democratic parties of today, and their function in the service of the capitalist state to oppose the revolutionary class struggle of the proletariat. Here again, it is crucial to understand politically, i.e. in the practice of the class struggle, how the parties of the left of capital, the so-called socialist or Marxist-Leninist parties, as organs and political forces of the bourgeois state have precisely an anti-proletarian and counter-revolutionary function.]

  • 12) “In the era of dominant state capitalism, the trade unions as a whole, the leadership as well as the base sections, are nowadays full-fledged organs of the bourgeois state within the working class milieu. They aim at maintaining the capitalist order within its ranks, at framing the working class and at preventing, counteracting and sabotaging any proletarian struggle, in particular any extension, generalization and centralization of proletarian fights. Any defense of the trade unions and trade unionism is counter-revolutionary.”

Indeed, it seems as if the trade unions, far from being a tool for the proletariat’s interests, became mere constituencies of the state. Trade unions do not have the working class’s interests and cannot deliver upon the real demand for working people, and so they cannot be used as tools for revolution.

  • 13) “In the era of dominant state capitalism, all fractions of the bourgeoisie are equally reactionary. All the so-called workers’, "socialist", "communist" parties, leftist organizations (Trotskyists, Maoists, Anarchists), or even those presenting themselves as anti-capitalist, constitute the left of the political apparatus of capital. All the tactics of popular front, anti-fascist front or united front mixing the interests of the proletariat with those of a fraction of the bourgeoisie, only serve to contain and divert the struggle of the proletariat. Any frontist policy with left parties of the bourgeoisie is counter-revolutionary.”

The reality of today, in the material conditions that the working class faces today, it is disastrous for communists to make any sign of alliance with the left of capital, i.e., the ideologies of the bourgeoisie, which contest in bourgeois elections, and which advocate for the interests of the bourgeoisie. Allowing for the working class to focus on struggles which would only benefit capital and the bourgeois class is to collaborate with a class which sees us as pawns. We do not accept unity with Marxist-Leninists, Trotskyists, Maoists, Anarchists, Democratic Socialists, or any other so-called “anti-capitalist” organization. The interests of the workers will only be realized once they develop their own organs of power, not by joining some party which sends its delegates into the chambers of the state, or by buying a stupid newspaper. Remember that the Communist Party of Great Britain had a member in the House of Lords. You cannot have a lordling as a communist.

  • 14) “In the era of dominant state capitalism, parliament and electoral campaigns, and in general bourgeois democracy, can no longer be used by the proletariat for its affirmation as a class and for the development of its struggles. Any call to participate in the electoral processes and to vote only reinforces the mystification presenting these elections as a real choice for the exploited and, as such, is counter-revolutionary.”

Per my above response, electoral pursuits are pursuits of the bourgeoisie. The working class has no interests in elections that do not provide them their real interests. Nominally socialist and communist parties in parliaments cannot deliver upon the promises of a stateless classless and moneyless society that communism demands, no matter how sincere their deliverances.

  • 15) “Communism requires the conscious abolition by the proletariat of capitalist social relations: commodity production, wage labor and classes. The communist transformation of society through the dictatorship of the proletariat does not mean self-management or nationalization of the economy. Any defense of one or the other is counter-revolutionary.”

It is the task of the working class to usurp from their lives the social formations that capitalism has placed them in. Through this process, it must stay away from any ideas of workers-self-management as this does not abolish the concept of the firm of capital. Having workers manage their own suffering instead of the bourgeoisie doing so is tantamount to self-exploitation in my opinion. The hell of capitalism is the firm. Whether the firm is managed co-operatively or by the state, it is to be abolished.

  • 16) “The so-called ’socialist’ or even ’communist’ countries, the former USSR and its Eastern European satellites, China, Cuba, Vietnam, or even Chavez’s Venezuela, have only been particularly brutal forms of the universal tendency to state capitalism. Any support, even critical, for the so-called socialist or progressive character of these countries is counter-revolutionary.”

The experiment of socialism in one country is a failed experiment. I do have to say, as I do agree with this statement, I must admit that these “socialist” countries do give us valuable lessons for us communists. By this, I mean that one can look at their flaws and, albeit marginal, successes, and derive from these observations the truth. The truth being that in order for socialism to arise it must be done internationally, and through the organs of control of the proletariat (the councils, the party) and that these organs should do well to rid society of the capitalist social relations in place of a free and equal association of producers. The “socialist” countries, past and present, have done very little other than the nationalization of the firms, and the generation of capital held by a state monopoly. Capital must be abolished, and so must the firm, as well as the bourgeois state.

[“The experiment of socialism in one country is a failed experiment.” Socialism in one country is not, cannot have been, an experiment of the proletariat, but the manifestation of the victory of opportunism in the Communist International and the Russian party, of their betrayal of class principles, in particular of proletarian internationalism. In the end, it is a successful experiment of the international capitalist counter-revolution, including in Russia itself.]

  • 17) “In a world now totally conquered by capitalism and where imperialism imposes itself on every state, any national liberation struggle, far from constituting any kind of progressive movement, is in fact a moment in the constant confrontation between rival imperialisms. Any defense of nationalist ideology, of the ’right of peoples to self-determination’, of any national liberation struggle is counter-revolutionary today.”

This brings up an important point on changing material conditions. The statement is that “defense of nationalist ideology… of any national liberation struggle is counter-revolutionary today.” This statement implies that national liberation struggles were at one point a valid step in the right direction it seems. In the present conditions however, nationalism is only a dead end for the world working class and must be ignored as a tool for proletarian emancipation.

  • 18) “By their very content, the partial struggles, anti-racist, feminist, environmentalist, and other aspects of everyday life, far from strengthening the unity and autonomy of the working class, tend on the contrary to divide and dilute it in the confusion of particular categories (race, gender, youth, etc.). Any ideology and movement that advocates identitarianism, anti-racism, etc., in the name of the intersectionality of struggles, are counter-revolutionary ideologies and movements.”

I’m very hesitant on this point, and struggle to understand it. I understand how partial struggles for this or that can be co-opted and stripped of its real potential, and thus reduced down to something weak. I feel like this could open the gate to reactionary rhetoric against “partialism” that would inhibit working class people who are, for example, persons of color, LGBTQIA+, etc. from being able to achieve their own liberation under the broader movement to abolish capitalism and achieve the liberation of the entirety of the working class itself. Much like how the anti-fascist struggle cannot be done through a united front through liberals and non-communists (as it does not attack the problem at its root: capitalism) The anti-racist, anti-misogynistic, ant-homophobic, and anti-transphobic struggles cannot be done within the terrain of the bourgeois organizations and the left of capital, as it would sincerely inhibit those who are fighting for their liberation to do so with purpose. Communists must resolutely open up avenues for those who face these prejudices to fight against them, in the name of the greater fight against capitalism. Liberation for people of color, LGBTQIA+ folks, etc. cannot be achieved outside of the proletarian struggle.

[First of all, let us note that the comrade does not seem to share, or at least to have understood, how the so-called “anti-fascist” struggle is contrary to the class struggle of the proletariat, whatever the political actors, even if they are working class and revolutionary and even if they exclude bourgeois political forces. Moreover, it is clear that the historical position of the international Communist Left on “partial struggles” is often the one that younger generations of revolutionaries, particularly in North America, have the most difficulty understanding and accepting. Leftist ideologies, especially those linked to the leftist-bourgeois theory of intersectionality and identity politics, are an obstacle on the road to the reappropriation of the communist program by the new militant forces and a divisive factor within the proletarian struggles themselves. We cannot fully develop this point here but we refer the comrade and the readers to our article Intersectionality, an Ideological Production of the Capitalist Thought [1] published in Revolution or War #17. We will limit ourselves to just two points :

  • - According to this ideology, alongside the emancipation of the workers and the disappearance of the classes, and thus to the liberation of the whole human species from the capitalist exploitation and the advent of the communist society, there could be particular, specific liberations to realize, supposedly “adjacent to” the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. The result is that in practice the latter is only one struggle among others. In fact, on the political level, this position is opposed to the fight for the unity of the proletariat in the struggle. The unions, especially the American ones, have understood this to the point of imposing particular demands for such or such category of workers, blacks, homosexuals, women, and by excluding the other “categories” of proletarians [2], whereas the communists must try to impose the most unitary demands possible in which the whole of the proletarians, that is to say beyond the corporations and the particularities, can recognize themselves and that they can make their own;
  • - more broadly, for the Communist Left and revolutionaries, “the emancipation of the workers contains universal human emancipation [and] the transcendence of private property is therefore the complete emancipation of all human senses and qualities” (Marx, Manuscripts of 1844). It follows that the overcoming of all particular oppressions and discriminations linked to gender, skin color, national or religious origins can only be assumed by the revolutionary struggle of the proletariat. Likewise, it is only within the framework of its daily struggle that these particular oppressions and discriminations, real and inevitably produced by the class-divided society and capital, can be fought and pushed back, if not totally eliminated until class society and the division of labor themselves disappear.]
  • 19) “Terrorism is an expression of social strata without a historical future and of the decomposition of the petty-bourgeoisie, when it is not directly the emanation of the war that the States are permanently waging against each other. It always constitutes a privileged terrain for the police manipulations and provocations of the bourgeoisie. Advocating the secret action of small minorities, it is in complete opposition to class violence, which is conditioned by the conscious and organized mass action of the proletariat.”

Terror is only a component for the liquidation of the struggle, especially in places where the advanced bourgeois state makes terrorism a dead-end for the real movement. I do inquire about one thing pertaining to the class struggle. Unless I am mistaken, do militants of the communist left abstain from armed struggle? I am ignorant and ill-informed on militancy in the communist left and what it entails, and I do not want to get it confused with terrorism.

[The international Communist Left rejects any terrorist action. For us, the use of class violence can only be by the proletariat as a whole, that is mass violence. Referring to the proletariat as a whole does not mean every single worker, but that the violence is part of general movement representative of the interests of the class at such or such moment.]

  • 20) “The IGCL fights, from today, so that the future party is constituted on the programmatic basis of the principles and positions that precede. The formal constitution of the party is necessary at the latest when the intervention, the orientations and the slogans of the communist groups or fractions become permanent material elements of the immediate situation and direct factors of the balance of power between the classes. Then, the immediate struggle for the formal constitution of the party is necessary and becomes urgent.”

The formation of the world party of the proletariat can be the working class’s only solution to capitalism’s destructiveness. The IGCL is not claiming to be the sole nucleus of the future, nor is it the future party itself, but its aims and measures are to be apparent as a material force in the real movement if we are to advance towards communism. The fight the IGCL makes today is the fight for the world proletariat, now, and in the future. May the working people of all countries come together for the communist society!

Leo Corelli, August 2022

Short Answer about the “Fears” about the Risks of Degeneration of the Party

Dear comrade,

In your commentary on point 1, you state that “the constitution of a world political party of the proletariat is key towards the realization of communism” and that “only through the establishment of a party which comprises and represents the interests of the international proletariat can we overthrow capitalism, and realize communism.” Then you worry about “the possibility of the internal degeneration of the party” and the risk of “an overarching centralized bureaucratic party leading the proletariat.” First, as presented here, the expression of your fears is in contradiction with your clear claim of the party as “the key to the realization of communism.” Practically, that is, politically, posing in itself the danger of degeneration of the party does not serve much purpose other than to issue a very strong reservation about the necessity and historical role of the party, where on the contrary it should be affirmed loud and clear. It is not, of course, a matter of denying that the party can suffer from failures and from an opportunistic process of degeneration. The Marxist method, namely historical materialism, approaches – and solves – the question of party degeneration from the historical experience itself: the growing influence of opportunism in the social-democratic parties before 1914 and in the Communist International from its 3rd Congress onwards, to put it simply; the political confrontation, at the time on questions of principle, within them between the opportunist currents and the left-wing fractions; the victory of the former and the failure of the latter as expressions and factors both of the defeat of the proletariat in 1914 and of the retreat of the international revolutionary wave of 1917-1923. How to explain – and to solve theoretically and politically the question of – opportunism winning the Communist International and the Bolshevik party? And, just as important if not more, the question of the struggle that the left fractions had to lead within it? The fundamental reason for the bureaucratization of the Bolshevik party is not to be found in Moscow or Petrograd, even less in the supposed personal aims of the evil Lenin and Trotsky, or even Stalin, but in Berlin, Budapest, Munich... namely, in the failure of the international extension of the revolution and the isolation of revolutionary Russia ravaged by three years of imperialist war and another three years of civil war, essentially led and directed by global imperialism of the time. The question of the degeneration of the International and of the Bolshevik party can only be treated and the lessons drawn from it in this historical framework.

It is also within this framework that we should ask the other, more fundamental question, the one you raise when you fear “ the proletariat losing political control (…) and instead being managed by (...) an internally degenerate party”, that of the relationship between the proletariat and its party. In Russia, one of the factors and products of opportunism within the party – and in particular of its identification with, in fact absorption into, the state – has been precisely the increasing weakening of the participation and intervention of the great proletarian masses in the workers’ councils, organs of the insurrection and of the class dictatorship, and in relation to the so-called proletarian State. In doing so, it was not only the soviets that were weakening, but the party itself. Once again, this phenomenon cannot be explained by the evil dictatorial practices of Lenin and Trotsky, nor by the infamous adventurer Stalin, but by the ebb of the revolution in Western Europe, then its definitive failure, the resulting isolation of the revolution in Russia and the dramatic conditions that prevailed there after more than six years of massive and bloody destruction.

These, dear comrade, are the few words of reply we wanted to give you.

Looking forward to your comments, internationalist greetings, the IGCL



[2. For instance, see the GCCF article in RW #17 USA: Lessons from the Teachers’ Struggle: Left-Racialism as a Tool of Union-Sabotage (